University of St Andrews

University Library Special Collections

Research and enquiries

University of St Andrews Library Visiting Scholarship Scheme 2016

We were happy to host the following Visiting Scholars for 2016:

Maxine Branagh (University of Stirling) July 25th – August 19th

Maxine Branagh examined 18th century records of the University of St Andrews Library to understand how reading materials available to children and young people shaped their identities within eighteenth-century Scottish society

The research Ms Branagh did in Special Collections forms a key part of her PhD thesis; ‘The Young Scottish Reader in the Long Eighteenth Century’, which takes an innovative approach to the history of reading in Scotland (and beyond) by examining the neglected records of school, university and local libraries. The Library records will become the basis for a chapter devoted to the young readers at the University of St Andrews between 1737 and 1848.

The second half of her thesis will feature case-studies based around archival material at three institutions: Innerpeffray Library, The Royal High School of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews Library in order to examine the reading practices of young people in the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries.


Professor Elizabeth Edwards (De Montfort University) July 19th - August 8th

‌‌Elizabeth Edwards worked both on visual and manuscript material in the J. Valentine & Co archives in Special Collections. Professor Edwards is working on a book on the role of photography and photographs in the emergence and consolidation of the concept of a publicly owned and collective ‘cultural heritage’.

A visual and historical anthropologist, Elizabeth Edwards has worked extensively on the relationships between photography, anthropology and history, on the social practices of photography, on the materiality of photographs and on photography and historical imagination. She has previously held posts as Curator of Photographs at Pitt Rivers Museum and lecturer in visual anthropology at the University of Oxford, and at the University of the Arts London.

In addition to major monographs, most recently The Camera as Historian: Amateur Photographers and Historical Imagination 1885-1918 (Duke University Press 2012), she has published over 80 essays in journals and exhibition catalogues over the years, is on the board of major journals in the field including Visual Studies and History of Photography, and was Vice-President of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2009-2012. With colleagues in the Netherlands and Norway, she recently completed a major HERA/European-funded project on the role of the photographic legacy of the colonial past in contemporary Europe ( In 2012 she featured as one of the major writers on photography of all time in Fifty Key Writers on Photography edited by M. Durden (Routledge).


 Dr Keelan Overton (UCLA) in partial collaboration with Kristine Rose Beers (Chester Beatty Library) July 25th - August 5th

 Keelan Overton and Kristine Rose Beers presented the first in-depth, collaborative, and interdisciplinary analysis of the St. Andrews Timurid Qur’an of Abu Said. The volume was investigated as a holistic “object” (paper, calligraphy, illumination, binding, marginalia, colophon, flyleaves) and its underexplored yet exceptional binding illuminated a dynamic biography from Greater Iran to India over nearly four centuries.

Keelan Overton (Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles) is a historian of Islamic art specializing in medieval and early modern Greater Iran and the Indo-Persian world, as well as more recent historiographies of Islamic art and patterns of collecting and preservation. She is a lecturer in art history at the University of California, Los Angeles and Occidental College and was previously the Curator of Islamic Art at the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art and Associate Curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is currently editing an interdisciplinary book project entitled Iran and the Deccan: Persianate Art, Culture and Talent in Circulation, 1400-1700.


Kristine Rose Beers is Senior Conservator at the Chester Beatty Library. In 2008, she began work at the Chester Beatty Library as book conservator for the Turkish collection, and in 2011, she was appointed Assistant Keeper (Conservator of Manuscripts and Printed Books) at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

Special Collections for Groups

Learn about how we share our treasured collections with specialist groups and schools and how we use materials for teaching within the University.

Research enquiry?

If you need assistance with research, have a query about our collections, or would like to know about researching your family history please ask for our help.

Do you need reproductions?

Find out how you can get copies of books, manuscripts or photographs held within Special Collections.